TOPCORP: Frequently Asked Questions


What are the costs to attend a sponsored TOPCORP workshop?

For sponsored participants, there are no charges to attend one of the regularly scheduled in-person workshops. The pre-requisite online courses for each workshop are also free for sponsored attendees. Participants from the continental U.S. also have your meals, lodging, and travel covered. If your agency is required to pay your lodging and / or travel, just let us know, and you can make those arrangements yourself. If you are interested in sponsoring a workshop for a group of personnel hosted at a different location, please contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.


How do I apply?

Nominees for our TOPCORP in-person workshops should be sent to Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu. Once your nomination has been processed, you will be contacted with information on your acceptance status, including an online registration document if your nomination is accepted.


What do I need to know about the final online course assessment?

The final online course assessment in advance of the in-person workshop will test your knowledge of the material covered in each course. You will need to answer all of the questions on the final assessment correctly to pass the course. You will be able to make several attempts to complete the final assessment.

At the end of each lesson, there will be a few ungraded self-check questions to help you gauge your understanding of the content. These self-check questions will prepare you for the final assessment.


What do I need to do to qualify for the workshop?

The TOPCORP in-person workshops consist of classroom, field, and lab experiences. Successful completion of the pre-requisite online course assessment is required to attend the in-person workshop. Once you answer all of the questions correctly, you will be able to print a course completion certificate verifying your mastery of the online materials.


When and where are the workshops held?

The workshops are held at different times throughout the year and are announced on our TOPCORP workshop webpage. Notices are sent to state and provincial regulatory agencies across the U.S. and Canada, as well as to U.S. federal agencies. The workshops are hosted by one of the three university consortium members: MINES (Golden, CO), PSU (Pittsburgh, PA), and UT Austin (Austin, TX). For specific information on the schedule of workshops, please contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.


I plan to fly. Who will book my ticket?

Your travel and hotel will be booked and paid for through our centralized travel at The University of Texas at Austin. Contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.


Who oversees the TOPCORP program?

The program is led by a principal investigator at each of the three universities:

  • Jim Ladlee (Penn State)
  • Dr. Hilary Olson (The University of Texas at Austin )
  • Dr. Linda Battalora (Colorado School of Mines)

Who is funding the TOPCORP program?

The initial development of the training program was funded by a gift from ExxonMobil and General Electric to Colorado School of Mines, The Pennsylvania State University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Ongoing development and implementation funding is provided by gifts to the three universities from ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes General Electric, the Environmental Defense Fund, American Petroleum Institute, Apache, Chevron, Encana, Noble, Occidental, Seneca, and the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation. The three universities designate a 'gift' when there are no specific required deliverables, no memoranda of agreement, nor any contracts as part of the funds transferred to the university.


Who selects the curriculum and ensures the content is balanced in approach?

The online and workshop curriculum is chosen by university faculty and researchers at the three different universities, including those with expertise in environmental sciences, groundwater and surface water management, hydrogeology, structural geology, geomechanics, petroleum geology, reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, geophysics, and technical communications. Through a nationwide survey of oil and gas regulatory agency personnel and intensive evaluation of pilot classes, we have been able to focus on the information most needed by both new and seasoned state oil and gas regulators.


What role do funding corporations or other entities have in setting the detailed curriculum content?

None, the detailed workshop curriculum is at the sole discretion of the three universities (principal investigators and instructors).


Who makes decisions about attendees invited and/or selected to attend?

The Leadership Team makes these decisions in conjunction with regulatory agency supervisors.


What other groups, agencies or companies are working with you on TOPCORP?

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) works with us to ensure our training meets the needs of state regulatory agencies who oversee oil and gas operations throughout the United States, as well as their sister provincial agencies in Canada. By partnering with the IOGCC we are moving towards a nationwide best-practice standard in oil and gas regulatory performance.

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